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TM Garret Schmid's journey from hate to love

TM Garret Schmid’s Journey from Hate to Love

Why Does the World Need More Love? From Hater to Lover. Hold On to Your Seat! The Ambassador of JOY, Barry Shore, brings You the former head of the KKK of Germany and world famous Skinhead Band Leader TM Garret Schmid. You’ll be amazed at his story. He went from disaffected teenager to neo-nazi hater in a few years. It was only the threat of prison that made him WAKE UP and evaluate his life. He chose to learn about the people he was HATING and left the ideology in 2003. The BEST news is he now works with ERASING THE HATE, EXIT, and interfaith CHANGE to reach people. TM partners with a former Black gang Member who has turned to LOVE. He also works with Jewish Groups to bring TRUTH to schools and organizations. You MUST Share this amazing episode. Our world needs more LOVE. Please feel free to share YOUR views with us, the show is all YOURS!

Listen to the podcast here:

Show Notes:

  • 00:45 – Barry’s rousing introduction
  • 14:17 – TM Garret from Hater to Lover
  • 24:40 – What was it that attracted you to lust for evil?
  • 41:55 – Were you able to achieve academically or did that all fall apart as well?
  • 52:21– Barry’s Interesting Wrap-up

Important Links:

Barry Shore:

TM Garret, please say hello to 351,822 people around the world.

TM Garret:

Hello. Thank you so much, Barry, for having me on the show. I’m really, really excited about what we’re going to talk about and it’s really interesting. You were talking about the miracles and the things you take for granted. And there was one thing, it just happened last week, my wife and me we had a very traumatic experience two months ago that actually put our lives on a halt. It was really a very horrible thing and we were like okay, this is it, this is life, everything will be different. Now, a couple of days ago, you know you scroll through your phone and you have YouTube, you have Facebook and the reels, and all these short videos. There was one, it told the story and it asked, would you take $10 million if I would give it to you? And the answer would probably be yes, sure of course. Then oh, wait a minute, it comes with a catch. The catch is you’re not waking up tomorrow. Would you still take it? No, of course not. And why not? Because waking up is more precious than any money in the world. Why don’t we treat waking up every morning the same every day? It’s more precious than getting $10 million every day. This is when we got out of our hole and we said, let’s celebrate life because we were sitting at home not depressed but we need to do something. My wife said, let’s get dressed fancy and go out to eat. I said, celebrating what? And she was like, life. That’s it. And this is what we did. We went to a rather expensive restaurant and spent a lot of money, I would say too much but it was not too much for the purpose. But it was one of these things that we have just to remember every day not to take things for granted, like waking up, how precious it is. And then we can circle back to why I’m here and about my background because there was a time in my life when I was waking up and I was not grateful for it. I was waking up full of fear. I was waking up full of hate. I was waking up at war with the whole world. And the reason for that is until about 22 years ago I was a completely different person. I wasn’t talking about positivity.

Barry Shore:

Let’s put it on pause for a moment because I want to make mention as you see, the good news is that TM is able to bring into our lives right away, yeah, think about this, life. Life is a four-letter word. We talked about unpacking four-letter words and living inspirationally for eternity. That’s what he does now. He lives inspirationally for eternity. He was mired in four-letter words that were the opposite of the ones we used before, remember. He was mired in hate, in fear, and that literally kept him in a bog of misery. It was disgusting. It was horrible. And not only for him but he came became a purveyor of hate, he was a leader of hate. We’re going to begin to unpack his amazing story, which I hope will keep you on the edge of your seat. I see people actually falling off their seats already. Because when we talk about hate and fear a lot of people, unfortunately, live in that realm, TM. Now, let’s just go back and take a couple of steps back to the beginning of you. And we don’t have to go all the way back to your birth. But let’s just give some data points. One of those is that you were born in the country of Germany. [Crosstalk 00:13:07] you’re just like any other American right now. So, you come from Germany. Well, that in and of itself doesn’t mean anything except for the fact that you came from what, we don’t say these terms anymore, but we’ll call it a difficult family structure, a broken family. Your parents got divorced early on in life, and your father died very early, at the age of eight or so. And at an early age, the tender age of approximately 12, 13 you were already attracted to elements in Germany that do exist. Nationalist elements are not just a front for white supremacy, they are the essence of it. They are the main [crosstalk 00:13:56] the spear, unfortunately, for those elements in the world that still purvey and talk about, march, and celebrate the opposite of life. And what I’d like you to do is be so kind what was it when you were very young, you weren’t even a man, you weren’t a young man you were a boy, what was it that attracted you to these hate-filled people and that invigorated you with that lust for evil? And again, two other four-letter words, lust and evil because they’re both in that same realm of hate and fear. What was it that attracted you to lust for evil?

TM Garret:

Okay, you said it right. I was not even a young man I was a boy. A boy in puberty discovering his masculinity. This is also very important to understand. And how many boys act at this age, you’re looking for something to act up. You want to prove your masculinity, you want to be the bad boy, to show it. I think that society has gotten it wrong, this whole thing. Boys got to be tough, girls got to be pretty, the stereotype. The boys wanted to be tough, you were in puberty, and this is what you wanted to show. And I didn’t know anything about Neo Nazis, I didn’t know anything about skinheads or all these hate groups. I didn’t know anything about that. I saw a couple of things on TV. But at this age we got presented with something in history class, which I think is very bad timing, it should be done way earlier than that. It was the history of the Holocaust, World War Two, Hitler, the Third Reich, and the Holocaust. Looking back, I’m asking myself, why do you present this topic to kids, especially boys when they’re in puberty, discovering their masculinity. And just to say this real quick, I think it’s really important here in the USA, I realized it’s the same age. And I work closely with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, I’m sure you know who Simon Wiesenthal was, the famous Nazi Hunter. And the Simon Wiesenthal Center does incredible work. And sometimes they get phone calls from parents or teachers and say, we had this anti-Semitic incident in school. The people from the Simon Wiesenthal Center ask back and say, let me guess, you just talked about the Holocaust in school. And they’re like, how did you know that? Because this is always when it pops up. It’s bad timing. And it was also bad timing for me. I was this boy coming out of this dysfunctional, family full of tragedy trying to find his way in this world, his value. There was a big question mark above my head, I wanted to find out who am I. Other kids had an identity. Boy Scouts, somewhere involved in church, somewhere involved in sports. In another one, the father and the brother were in the army, they all had something, or the dads would take them to the sports games or matches. No, I didn’t have any of that. Because my brother moved out, he went to college, my oldest sister got married, and left me with my other sister and my mother. No male figure there. So, I was looking for something. And then they came up with this topic, The Skeleton in the Closet in German. And you have to realize today it’s a little different but at that time, you wouldn’t talk about it unless it was for historical purposes and you couldn’t make fun of Hitler either. It’s like here in the US you go to a Baptist church you can’t make fun of the devil. It’s way too serious. And that’s how it was in Germany in the 80s and 90s. You could not make fun of Hitler either. Too serious, you don’t do that. It has changed. [Crosstalk 00:17:56] parodies now.

Barry Shore:

Let me put you on pause because you’ve just given us so many important points in the process of the human condition. Number one, we’re talking about boys more than girls, and this is really important. And that the natural tendency for the boy is to seek a male figure to model. Let’s be blunt, and you want to better figure that not. But it’s hard to know when to choose when you don’t know what to choose because you don’t have one. And as you said, everybody else had one. And nobody’s even talking to you about what we call the 3 W’s which is, why am I here? Who am I? And now that I know, what am I supposed to do? So, if you don’t have any way of understanding….but I am just in shock actually about what you just said. You can’t make fun of the beast himself.

TM Garret:

It has changed. That’s the interesting part. It was Jewish film directors who came out with the first parodies about Hitler and broke this taboo. Yes, actually, we have to make fun of this. But the thing was, I was 13, and boys at that age they crack all kinds of jokes, all kinds of inappropriate jokes, anything that can shock. And so, we learned about this topic. So, some of the boys that were a little bit older cracked homophobic jokes and Islamophobic jokes against immigrants. Then this topic comes up so anti-Semitic jokes followed ending up in Holocaust jokes, really the worst of the worst but also jokes about Hitler. It was clear and at the time I learned in school Hitler that was the bad guy the Holocaust happened, the Germans were the bad guys in World War Two, we learned all that and I believed all that. I knew there were the bad guys. Otherwise, even those Hitler jokes and the Holocaust jokes would not have worked if I would have believed they were not the bad guys. So I believe that. The thing is, I was always a little bit more over the top I. I’ve always taken things a little bit further than other people and I’m still like this. One, I was talking to a German reporter once and she said, JM, you’re actually still a very extreme person. And she was actually right because extreme in anything I do was with over-the-top passion, over-the-top compassion, over-the-top love, and so on. I take things too far. And I did that too. I took those jokes, I ran with them. I was fortunately very good at telling jokes, and stories. And you will learn that in this hour if I can do it within an hour I’m very good at telling stories. And I even invented some new jokes, and also jokes about Hitler and so on. The thing is, the other kids who also cracked these jokes, let’s say very innocently because I call it unintentional anti-Semitism would happen there. Why unintentional? It was not for the sake of hating Jews. I didn’t know any Jews. I didn’t hate. It was not about hate at the time, it was about pure attention. And that topic gave you all the attention you wanted. The other kids went back to normal at some point. Even since I started speaking publicly I always wondered why they went back to normal. Were they smarter than I was? Did their parents sit down with them? Until I realized at some point reflecting on my past, oh, wait a minute, they had something to get back to. I didn’t [unintelligible 00:21:54] normal. I didn’t have a normal to go back to. My normal was a bullied kid in the corner that you could push around. For nothing in the world, I wanted to go back to that. I enjoyed this attention, this new identity even though I didn’t identify as what they called me because they called me a Nazi. They called me a Nazi kid, all of a sudden. I seriously do not understand. Didn’t the Nazis die in 1946, Nuremberg trials and everything, weren’t they gone? And I had a famous [unintelligible 00:22:27], I had to go to the principal one time, I was at the principal office often. But there was one thing that I recall really well because I made a comic, I was very good at drawing, too. I made a comic with all these jokes and half of this comic was also Hitler jokes against Hitler, making fun of Hitler. And I remember sitting there with the principal, and he wanted to get the book and I said, yea I know you’ve got it because somebody stole it out of my bag and gave it to the principal. And he sat down and was quiet for a while and said, what do you think about Hitler? I said, what do you mean? He said, well, why are you a Nazi? I’m not. I’m making fun of Hitler, aren’t I? If I’m making fun of Hitler, how can I be a Nazi? Yeah, but didn’t you know the Nazis were the bad guys say? I said, yes. Otherwise, the jokes wouldn’t work, right. And I was puzzled. How can he call me a Nazi when I’m actually, in my world, for my subjective truth was I’m not a Nazi? For the principal, his subjective truth is, looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, it’s a duck. He’s doing something anti-Semitic therefore, he must be an anti-Semite. He must be a Nazi. And I didn’t understand it. I didn’t know anything about Neo-Nazis or skinheads. That followed but all of a sudden, I had this label. Imagine there’s a box. And the principal, all the kids, all the parents, everybody put me in this box, put a label on it, that’s a Nazi kid. Closed the lid, and put it on the shelf with many, many other boxes. I looked on that shelf in my box. Oh, boy, I hated this label. I really hated it because I didn’t feel like I was a Nazi. But I accepted it because it gave me an identity that I didn’t have before. It was better than what I had before. Until the kid gave me a cassette tape with hate music. Because first, we had more innocent and unintentional anti-Semitism. Just for provoking purposes and for attention-seeking, actually only attention. Then I get that cassette tape and you have to realize hate groups, all extremists do that by the way. All extremist groups feed you first with a very subtle message that transports as subjective truth. Not an objective but subjective truth, something that is very uniquely true to you. You are the target that they want to recruit. And those were the soft covers because they’re good, they will raise the level [unintelligible 00:25:09] later. But this time, on this cassette tape they were singing that you’re only proud to be a German but they call you a Nazi, right? And you think that’s not fair because you’re not. 

Barry Shore:

They touched your very being.

TM Garret:

That’s it because this is how I felt. I was like, I’m not a Nazi. I’m a proud German because I started adapting a couple of other attributes from afar but I didn’t feel like I was a Nazi. But everybody called me that and this is what this band was singing about. Music was my thing. I grew up with my mother and my sister while my other brother and my sister were out of the house. My sister and I share the same birthday, 11 years apart so it’s very special. And she was listening to music all day long. A lot of rock music, The Beatles, Queen, a lot of British glam rock and all kinds of stuff. But most of it was English. In elementary school, I didn’t speak English. I started learning English in fifth grade. So, that were hollow messages to me but I love the screaming voices and the guitar riffs. I [unintelligible 00:26:16] there, too. This band that sang these things. You’re a proud German, they call you Nazi but you’re actually not. We got you, we know how you feel, screaming voices, hot guitar riffs but it was German. All of a sudden, this music that I loved so much had a message. And they spoke to me, my subjective truth. What they said was true, it was the ultimate truth to me. And for everybody, it wasn’t but for me, it was true. And the next cassette tape was a little bit more radical. The problem is those people who sang these songs became my trusted source. So, it was easy to raise this dose and come up with more outlandish things. And it got more radical and more radical and more radical.

Barry Shore:

Let me interrupt. This is a deep insight into not just you but into youth. And I’m sure that it exists not just in Germany but in many other places around the world. And I’m saying this because I want to understand. I think it happens quite frequently in the United States of America, in the black inner cities, and in Islamic situations, both in Europe and around the world that the subjective truth that you’ve been talking about, look, I’m proud to be black. However, my subjective truth is, that means that X Y Z, the same thing for Islamic youth, who don’t have anything other than, well, look, we’re being stepped on and walked on, and I’m proud to be a Muslim. And yet, unless I do it with a gun then I can’t be. So, you’re not talking just about this interesting 15, 16-year-old, by the way, how were you doing in school? Were you able to achieve academically or did that all fall apart as well?

TM Garret:

I was a very good student until seventh grade, and then it started falling apart. But let me add one thing. One thing that’s really important, is we’re talking about subjective truth really quick, which is really important. One really good example to understand, what I didn’t understand that other people didn’t get what I was thinking and vice versa, is today in this political environment when you have two people fighting, and everybody thinks they’re right. And there’s a good possibility that both are right. And this sounds off but the thing is, they’re both having their personal truce. Let’s say, imagine Barry, you, and I, we’re in the same room, just for a moment. And there’s a thermostat, a thermometer, that’s 72 degrees. And you will say, TM, it’s cold. And I’ll say, Barry, it’s warm. This is your perception of temperature versus my perception of temperature, which is your subjective truth, your personal truth, versus my personal truth. And we have the objective truth that says 72 degrees. So, who’s lying you or me? Who’s lying? We’re saying the opposite thing and neither of us is lying. How is this possible? And this is what happens politically very often. You have two opponents, and they have different opinions that are often based on personal or subjective truth and their experiences, and both are right based on their subjective truth, and their personal experiences. And they’re not understanding that the other person can maybe be right as well. And I was here at 15 years old with my personal truth, and I didn’t get it. It’s the mere exposure effect because I got overflowed, I got overwhelmed, I got so many cassette tapes with this hate music and it got more and more. And it got so bad with the N-word and with [unintelligible 00:30:35] and with Hitler and it was really the worst of the worst, really quick.

Barry Shore:

On that note, we’re going to pause for a commercial break because people love this show and like to advertise on it. But everybody, keep your seatbelt buckled up because TM is coming back. And we’re going to unpack this and we’re going to move into love, it’s going to take us a little bit of time. We’re going to move into love on the other side of this break. Don’t go away there’s more TM, and we’re going to break through from hate into love. 

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Barry Shore:

Good day beautiful, bountiful, beloved immortal beings and good-looking people. Remember you’re good-looking because you’re always looking for and finding the good. Our cup runneth over with good. And it’s a two-legged being his name is TM Garret. He’s an extremist. He’s a hater. He’s horrible, except that he’s an extremist because he was able to use that hate and fear and move that extreme personality into love and life. He went from hellish activities threatening existence, that’s what hate is. Hellish activities threaten existence into love, living on vibrant energy. And he does it now to save everyone. He’s here today to enable us to understand what it means to process and go through hell to raise us up into life. TM, so we left you’re an intrepid hero. By the way, you live in joy today because everybody knows from Barry Shore my acronym Joy stands for journey of you. That’s what joy is journey for you. And that’s what we’re unpacking right now. So, here you are 15 years old, and looking for a path and you found it. It was a path into hate. And you grabbed it with both hands and you became a leader of hate. I want to just go a little bit in there and then see how we can emerge from there. So, talk to us more about what happened in Germany.

TM Garret:

So, for those who just tuned in, from anti-Semitic jokes were in an assembly that we just learned about the topic of the Holocaust, somebody gave me this cassette tape with this message that resonated. The problem was with every cassette tape the message got more extreme, and I believed the next more extreme message because those guys were my trusted source because they spoke my subjective truth that was uniquely true to me. But it was still not about ideology, it was still about only provoking. Those were skinheads, extremist skinheads’ right-wing Neo Nazis. But that was not about the ideology. They just wanted to make trouble, go to concerts, fight, drink, and that stuff. It happened a couple of years later, while I was getting more extreme, all of a sudden, I had a shaved head. My mom, I always thought she didn’t care. She’s an alcoholic and I must say she’s now sober for over 20 years. I’m very proud of her, very. She’s 77 years old and she has been sober for over 20 years, I am very proud. At the time when she was fighting old demons, I thought she didn’t care. And from being that normal kid, all of a sudden, I came home with a shaved head. It looked like seemingly overnight, just as we do today, think people change seemingly overnight and become radical and storm the Capitol, all of a sudden. We ask ourselves, what in the world happened to those people? They were loving neighbors yesterday, and now they’re marching with AR 15 and storming the Capitol. What in the world was going on? And my mom must have thought the same thing, shaved head. And at some point I grabbed a guitar and wrote these jokes into lyrics, I wrote new lyrics. And all of a sudden I wanted to play the guitar when I was 6 when I was 10. I thought my mom didn’t care. All of a sudden, I could play the guitar. I had an audience, they were cheering and I made the lyrics sometimes even more radical than I was because that’s what they wanted to hear. The more radical, the more they would cheer, the more of a bad boy you would be. 

Now imagine, I was born in 1975 that was another thing that was a big problem. Two years later I was introduced to a neo-Nazi Party. Now, that’s when the ideology kicked in. And this is very important to understand. I was born 30 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, only 30 years. This means a lot of people that were around during Hitler’s time were still alive, which means grandparents, like my great-grandmother, and my grandmother was still alive as well. Even the grandfathers of my friends were still alive. And then you learn. You’re 13, you learn about these things in history class, about how bad the Germans treated the world. What atrocities the Germans did just 30, 40 years prior to that. Then you had to ask yourself, wait a minute my grandparents were around at the time. I know my great grandfather was in the war. I know that. What if my great grandfather or other kids too, my grandfather that I love, what if he had been involved in any atrocities during the Holocaust? What if? So, you’re the kid and you don’t want to ask yourself that question because this is horrible. These are people you love. This is your family. And you have to ask yourself that question. And many Germans didn’t talk about it because most Germans realized that Hitler was nothing but doom and destruction. While there were some that might have been involved in something, they didn’t talk about it, of course, but you didn’t know who they were. Is it your granddad or mine or mom, or both? We don’t know. This is horrible. And this is horrible if you’re 5 or 13 or 17 if you have to ask yourself that question. This Neo-Nazi Party had an answer that is a solution for this problem because there were Holocaust deniers. They claimed the Holocaust didn’t happen. This means, ergo, if the Holocaust didn’t happen there’s no way your grandparents could have been involved in any atrocities. And they also started this myth that Germany did not start World War II they were just defending themselves. All of a sudden your grandparents were heroes defending their country. Isn’t it great if your grandparents are heroes all of a sudden? Hey, it’s Memorial Day, we’re recording this episode on Memorial Day. And then you’re thinking about this. You have this 15-year-old, your grandparents can be heroes all of a sudden, and this is a rhetorical thing by American standards. There’s no way that you would think these veterans did anything bad. But in Germany, well, all these World War II veterans most likely did something bad. Just following Hitler was bad enough. Anyway, so they had the solution, problem solved. Germany, first, all the immigrants are coming in, they’re infesting the country, they’re taking everything away and the communist wants to take over the country, swap out the population, all these things ideology kicked in.

And for all these problems that were there they had scapegoats, it was always somebody else. Hey, sounds great. But that also meant once you believe in that you wake up in the morning with the thought of somebody else being the scapegoat and you’re like, oh, it’s their fault. And you’re also afraid. It’s mostly somebody’s fault of somebody who you don’t know. Communists? Most of us didn’t know any communists or Jews or whatever. Unfortunately, in Germany at the time, historically, there were not many Jews at the time. Fortunately, that has changed, as there are many, many Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, and Russia nowadays but not at the time. So, what you don’t know you can’t understand. So, you start to fear what you don’t know. And if fear is not recognized it can lead to hate. That is like the child that is afraid of the monster under the bed or in the closet. And when I talk to schools, class always asks, who remembers being afraid of the monster under the bed or in the closet because I remember? But what did the parents do? Did they call you out? Are you stupid? Did you see it on Fox or on CNN? Depending on where you stand politically. What did they do? No, they hugged you, and showed you compassion, and unconditional love, for a simple reason because they knew that even though the fear is not substantial it’s still real. The feeling of fear is real even though it’s not substantial. And this is how hateful people live. This is how Neo-Nazis live. This is how I lived then, in fear every day, and this fear was real, it was fed. But all this propaganda and that fear were real, we were really afraid of all this happening. Let me try to wrap it up in two minutes so we can get to the good parts. In 1998, two things changed. There was the advent of the Internet, as I call it and that changed two things. 

Number one, you could get in touch with people all across the world. And they taught me they have the same problems. And I was like, wow, it’s not only Germany that’s under attack, they are all under attack, too. It’s not only oh, we have to defend Germany, we have to defend the white race, but from whom. From whom? And somebody said it’s easy. Download this one book. And this change in Germany has always done a great job putting its finger on its problem. And anything that has to do with Hitler, propaganda, and promoting that hateful stuff, and literature is forbidden. You will go to prison in Germany if you promote Holocaust denial, you will go to prison if you glorify Hitler, and so on. They have taken very good care of that. So, that stuff, literature always had to be smuggled into Germany. But with the internet, one mouse-click, and you had it. One second, or maybe 56k modem, it took maybe two minutes. But again, you had it. And the book that they wanted me to download was the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. You know what it is. For those who are listening and don’t know what it is, it is what you call today, fake news, made up by Russian anti-Zionists and anti-Semites in 1903 to stir hatred against Jews and to discredit Jews. In Czarist Russia, it made its way to America, Henry Ford put one copy in every Ford Model T. And Hitler did it too. And said, well, this is great. This is the ultimate enemy. And in this book, what they did is they made it look like it was a meeting. It was actually the Science Congress and Basil. That they made look like that. That’s what it was. Again, it’s fake news. Don’t believe what’s in this book. But it made it look like it was the blueprints of how the Jews wanted to take over the world. And we were made to believe as the White Race we’re the only ones who stand between the Jews and world domination. This is why the Jews want race-mixing. This is why the Jews are promoting race-mixing to create a mud race that is easier to control. And this is why we have to take out the Jews. This is why I played with them. 

Barry Shore:

One moment, I can feel the vibration around the world right now. There are people because we have Thank God tens of thousands of people listening from China, from Southeast Asia, Africa, lots of places in Europe, Russia still, Latin America, the United States, their eyes are bugging out. Their skin is tingling and they’re saying, what are they talking about. And you’re telling us this is pervasive. There are thousands and thousands of minds that are being twisted, and hearts twisted on a regular basis by this kind of filth, by this false [crosstalk 00:46:18] not just to believe in, like in your case, to embrace it.

TM Garret:

Absolutely. I became a full-blown Holocaust denier and anti-Semite to the point that they made me feel like in Lord of the Rings you can protect and save Middle Earth from Mordor. And which kid, which young man doesn’t want to be today, with a Marvel with all the movies? Who doesn’t want to be a superhero? They say I can wear a cape. Of course, I want to. And I speak to a lot of minority groups. I speak a lot in synagogues, I speak a lot to African American groups. And I ask them, don’t you want to protect your people? Yeah, of course. And there you go. And then you have that villain. It’s like in a computer game you have that end boss, and you have to fight them. And after that, you will have saved the world. This is how we may feel. And you have to see it didn’t happen overnight, starting from cracking Holocaust jokes, provoking, becoming a nationalist, becoming a national socialist, becoming a white supremacist, and then becoming that Holocaust denier. If you would have given me the protocols of the [unintelligible 00:47:30] when I was 13 in school, I would have shaken my head and said this is stupid, which it is. I would not have bought it. But they raised the dose and based one lie on the other. But it was my trusted source because at the beginning they spoke the subjective truth to me. They were my trusted source. So I believed in them. It’s like your parents, you trust your parents. Why? They’re your trusted source. Why? Have they ever lied to you, you probably don’t think they did? They have been around forever, you know them, why would they lie to you? It’s the same here, it’s your trusted source. Why would they lie to me? Long story short, I was at the height of my career and this movement. I was a leader. I became a leader of the European KKK group. I was a Neo-Nazi skinhead musician, I played worldwide concerts spreading that hate, unfortunately, really, really bad. And they were cheering. And I felt like a superstar and I felt like I found the Holy Grail. And then something happened. And I tried to put this in just two minutes because there’s so much more to talk about. Again, Germany has done a great job putting its finger on its problems. And they watched me closely. They wanted to get rid of me and my activities. But I was smart enough not to commit any violent crime so they could put me away. It was just like political things. They were watching me and they threatened me with prison because they said, you’re attracting all these violent people. What if one of them is sticking out and commits a violent crime? It will be you who’s responsible. And I was like, I don’t want to go to prison. I have three kids. I had three kids at the time. 

 

Barry Shore:

That is very interesting. So, during this process, you found a mate. Let’s even say you fell in love, you got married. I mean, you almost on the outside look normal. You found a woman, you got married, and you have three children, who by the way, you’re raising now in this environment of hate and fear.

TM Garret:

Which is very interesting, too. Because people ask me all the time. So, how did your kids turn out in this environment? 

Barry Shore:

Don’t go there yet but let’s keep going. 

TM Garret:

Let’s keep the answer for later because it’s very interesting.

Barry Shore:

[Crosstalk 00:50:01] that it looked like the outside world to you was still almost normal.

TM Garret:

Yeah, absolutely. But again, I was like, if I go to prison I’m no good for my kids. If I go to prison I’m no good for the cause I’m standing for either. And I thought and still think prison is a very scary place. 

Barry Shore:

Thank God.

TM Garret:

I was scared to death. I was so scared I resigned. I resigned from my leadership positions and everything. I appointed a successor but I left the KKK, I left the Neo-Nazis and said, I’m not coming back, this too hot. Sounds great. Yes. See, I left the KKK everything will be good. No, because just leaving a hate group it’s like you’re getting your head out of the hate but the hate is still in your head. And this is what it was. Leaving a KKK or leaving a hate group doesn’t make you an anti-racist or a civil rights activist all of a sudden. No, I was still a hater. I was still an anti-Semite. It was one year after 911 I was an islamophobe as well. And what happened was that I knew I had to remove myself from these people. And I did something that was very hard yet, being an age group is actually an abusive relationship. You’re in an abusive relationship with a hate group. That is like a woman who is in an abusive relationship with a man. You know it’s toxic, and yet you don’t leave. For many, many reasons. One is fear. The fear of, will this society understand why I stayed with this guy so long to beat me up? Will they understand anything was going on? Do they want me back? Maybe I have to move to a new town, find new friends, change my name, and find a new job. And this is how it looked for me, the same things and I was scared but I had to do it. For a long time, I didn’t have the courage. But I found the courage and I took my wife back then, we’re not together anymore and the kids and said, we’re going to move about 100 miles away. And we had that one town where we wanted to go, looked in the classifieds, and found one apartment. The thing was, our lease was already up so we had a week to find something or be homeless. One apartment was in the classifieds. I picked up the phone and a guy with a Turkish accent picks up the phone. Are you kidding me? The only apartment available is owned by a Turkish Muslim. Are you serious? But you know people in this movement lie to themselves a lot. Because you always meet the good Muslim or the good Jew or the good black person. You say, oh they’re exceptions. They’re not like the others. And I was like, well, maybe he’s okay. And I don’t have to live there forever. It’s just temporary. Well, it wasn’t. But anyway, I had to move in and he lived in the same house. He had his apartment below us. So, we shared the same hallway. Anyway, so over the course of six months, that unlikely friendship started to develop. And I was always living there again, one year after 911. And I was like, I will unmask him and expose him as the Muslim terrorist I thought he was. I was like, he’s probably murdering me in my bed at some point. But I will expose him. That was my mission. And I was not successful because, in the end, he exposed me, he unmasked me. And I was the bad guy at the table because that’s a long story behind it but that would be so much right now.

Barry Shore:

Wait a minute, this is absolutely wonderful. I’m going to put you on pause. Not because I want to but because I want people to understand that what’s happening here is deep, passionate, purposeful, and real. So, I’m going to ask you three quick questions TM. Before I even ask the three questions I’m just going to tell everybody right now a punch line that is almost hard to believe. And then I’ll ask you three questions and you’ll understand why. One of the punch lines is TM Garret, the person you hear, was just getting his head out of hate but still deeply involved is on the path to becoming Jewish. 

TM Garret:

That’s true. 

Barry Shore:

Now, let’s go to the three questions. Number one question. Are you ready?

TM Garret:

I am ready.

Barry Shore:

Will you come back again?

TM Garret:

Absolutely because we’re not even at the end yet.

Barry Shore:

Good. Number two, you have 80 seconds to answer this question. What is your most fervent desire?

TM Garret:

My biggest desire in this world is actually that people start to listen to each other so that we can live in harmony instead of killing each other with our minds, with our hands, with weapons because it’s possible. Just look at all the world religions or my favorite quote, Hillel that is hateful to you don’t do to others. It’s the golden rule in every other religion as well just negated. But it’s the same thing. If we just live after these words. And again, as Hillel said, this is the whole Torah now go and study. There’s this commentary. This is, that’s it. That’s it in a nutshell. And pardon my French, the easiest thing is just don’t be an asshole. It is so easy. And that’s it. That’s it. If everybody could just get this message. And also understand that liking somebody and loving somebody are not the same thing. Because you still should love every human being, even the ones you don’t like right now. And this is what we have to understand.

Barry Shore:

On the next show. And now the third, may I give you a hug in front of 358,00o [crosstalk 00:56:30] 

TM Garret:

Absolutely.

Barry Shore:

Let me tell you what hug stands for first. Are you ready? Heartfelt, unlimited, giving.

TM Garret:

Sounds great.

Barry Shore:

On the count of 3, 1-2-3 roar.

TM Garret:

Sounds good. Remind me of that when we meet again in the next episode about forgiveness. And I will tell you a nice story about this.

Barry Shore:

We’re looking forward. So again, you’ve tuned in consciously and conscientiously to The Joy of Living with your humble host Barry Shore. And you tuned in because you care the most in the entire world about you. And boy did you learn about yourself today by listening to this remarkable process, this story of reality from TM Garret. And everything you want to know about TM by the way is available on my website just go to wwwwhatawonderfulworld.barryshore.com. Everything about TM Garret is there and what he’s doing and there’s so much more. It’s so truly wonderful and enlightening and uplifting, which is the key to living in the world. Remember the three fundamentals. Number one, life has purpose. If you lead a purpose-driven life you go mad. Mad stands for make a difference. He’s doing that now. He has a purpose-driven life. He’s making a difference in a positive, purposeful, powerful, pleasant way. And the third is to unlock the power and the secrets of everyday words and terms like www what a wonderful world. Smile seeing miracles in life every day or as my niece says, my eight-year-old niece, seeing miracles in everyday life. Create the kind of world you want to live in like TM is doing now. Create the world of compassion and love causing, rethinking, enabling all to excel. Remember the six most important words that you’ll ever internalize, utilize and leverage in your life. Choice not chance determines your destiny. Choice as he did not chance determines your destiny. And use a lot of four-letter words life, love, hope, grow, free, play, swim, pray and tell the world to FU but add capital N capital N. So, our blessing from TM and Barry is go forth, live exuberantly, spread the seeds of joy, happiness, peace, and love. Go mad, go make a difference. TM don’t go away.

Outro  

Thank you for listening to this episode of The Joy of Living Podcast. Now, that’s another step towards your healthier, happier, and healthier life. Never hesitate to do good in the world no matter what the situation. Join us for another upbeat discussion next time at barryshore.com and be sure to leave a rating and subscribe to the show to get more conversations like this. And remember to share it with your family and friends, too. See you on the next episode.

 

About TM Garret

TM Garret Schmid (born Achim Schmid) and publicly known as TM Garret is an Extremism Researcher and Analyst at the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE).

He is a German-American Public Speaker, Human Rights Activist, Consultant, Author, Extremism Researcher, Interfaith Activist and founder of C.H.A.N.G.E, a non-profit organization which engages in anti-racism and anti-violence campaigns, food drives, inter-faith work as well as an EXIT program which helps individuals leave extremist groups and ERASING THE HATE, a nationwide tattoo campaign and movement that covers up racist and hate tattoos for free. He is also the organizer of the Memphis Peace Conference in 2018 and founder of “Share a Meal Pledge.” Before he started engaging in Civil Rights work, TM Garret was a White Supremacist in leading roles in Europe and the USA. He left this lifestyle and ideology for good in 2003.